Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rally for Life

It is fun to watch the children grow up and come into their own.  Develop their own interests, apart from mine.  Become their own person.  I love it!  I love that my girls have become strong, confident women, firm in their own convictions and strong in mind and character.

These are things that are similar about them, but for every similarity there are a dozen differences.  While Sarah likes to ride horses with Abby, she's not the least bit interested in training.  And while Abby likes to be involved with political things, she's not what I would call a political activist.  Sarah, yes. :)

Sarah is taking a course on Constitutional Law.  She's very interested in all things political, spending time at the State Capitol, reading bills, talking to legislators, lobbying for things that she views as important.

This week there was a Pro-Life rally after the Governor vetoed a very important bill that had passed the House and Senate.  I love that I find out lots of my important, need to know information from my daughter! :)

Sarah and Abby spent Wednesday at the Capitol speaking with legislators.  The rest of us joined them late that afternoon for the prayer meeting.  Sarah is still making calls, writing letters and emails, trying to create a change.  I do not know what the future holds for this lady, but I have no doubt she will be a powerful force for change.  And with all the yuck I see in the political realm, that gives me reason to smile.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Who You Are

Today has been one of those strange days.  There is no special reason today should have been so emotional for me.  I just can't breathe.  God, I miss that sweet face.

That voice.  That smile.  Those tiny hands.  And skinny arms.  I miss him crawling into my lap at night.  I miss him lying beside me, intertwining his arms with mine.  I miss hearing him say, "Yep!" I miss the ornery and the fun and the mischievous.
video

I'm struggling.  I still bounce back and forth from being angry that he's not here to knowing that I did not deserve such an incredible gift.  My mind will drift into dark, dark territory, if I do not turn it to the truths that I know.  There's so little that I know, but I do know Him.  And for that I'm thankful.

Lyrics:
All she wanted, was a baby to hold,
And she's still waiting, at forty-one years old,
Her life feels like a tragedy,
And its driving her down to her knees
She's praying "I don't know, 
I don't know what you're doing,
But I know who you are."

It was after midnight, when he answered the phone,
The doctor said his daughter, was never coming home,
Sometimes life doesn't make any sense, of war and pain
And accident, he's praying "I don't know, 
I don't know what you're doing, 
But I know who you are."

You are the father's heart, and a love that's wild,
And you know what it's like to lose, 
Yeah you know what it's like to lose, 
What it's like to lose a child,

Sometimes I don't know, 
I don't know what you're doing,
I don't know, I don't know what you're doing, 
But I know who you are.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

2016 Trainer's Challenge

Abby competed in the Blaze's Tribute Equine Rescue Trainer's Challenge over the weekend.  She had such a good time.  The whole process was such a healing, wonderful experience for her.

It all started last year when we went to watch for our first time.  We were so impressed with the trainers!  The 2015 winners, Team Candy Surprise and Team Powerball, did such a great job, as well as several others... After the Challenge, the horses are available for adoption.  It's such an amazing process.  On average, trainers charge around $700/mo for horse training.  These trainers have their horses for 4 months ($2800 of training, not to mention farrier, worming, vaccinations, chiropractor, feed, etc) and the starting bid at auction is $800.  Incredible bargain! When we left that day, Abby looked at me and said, "I want to do that next year."

She sent in her application and was accepted, so 4 months ago she went to pick out her horse with all of the other trainers.  She was slightly disappointed because she drew the last pick and she watched as, one by one, all of her top choices were chosen.  She ended up with Prancer, a sweet little chocolate palomino mare who took over 30 minutes to load into the trailer to come home! But Abby was gentle and patient with her, yet firm and began developing the trust relationship immediately.

Even though we were in classes at The Right Path, Abby has spent an incredible amount of time with Prancer over the last 4 months.  If she wasn't conditioning our own horses, working on her Parelli certifications, or on PATH certification, she was working with Prancer.  In fact, we've seen very little of her.  Typically, I probably would have put my foot down because we have missed having her around, but I saw such a change in her demeanor.  Grief has been hard on all of us and we are all trying to find our own way to press on.  Abby felt like Prancer was a gift, chosen not by her, but given to her nonetheless.  They developed such an incredible bond.  Long before the required Challenge Trail Ride rolled around, Abby said, "I love the way Prancer takes care of her rider."  The Lord moves in ways we do not comprehend often times and it is for our benefit.

For the Challenge, trainers work up a performance showcasing what the horse can do.  Several of them have a fun theme and work the skills into that.  I told Abby she would need to come up with a costume and theme, but she looked at me dryly and said simply, "I'm not doing that."  For those who know Abby, can you imagine?  Hahaha!  Anyway, her first goal was to get a good, forever home for Prancer, so during her training she focused on skills that would benefit someone who wanted a companion.  She took Prancer all over Oklahoma to horsemanship clinics and trail rides.
Mounted shooting
The Challenge was Saturday.  Prancer's performance was flawless.  Abby took the skills that were listed at the beginning of the Challenge and really perfected them.  We are so proud of her.  Her routine was not flashy, but it was perfect. No mistakes, no missed cues or leads, Prancer did absolutely everything asked of her and Abby was so soft and gentle with her, many times you couldn't even see the cue! I especially loved how Prancer was so eager to please her, not one sign of distress or frustration, no hesitation or tail swishing...she looked like a ballerina, totally at ease and beautiful!

After Abby showed all the key points of what Prancer could do, she took off Prancer's bridle and repeated several key skills at liberty (bridle less)! Walk, trot, canter, whoa, back up... All with no reins, no bridle! The best part? When Abby dismounted, still at liberty, Prancer walked beside her to the trailer and loaded with no hesitation when Abby directed! Wow! What a transformation!
Youth Champion
Adult Champion - Zeke Zacharias, Youth Champion - Abby Ocker
They won 1st place in the youth trainer division. Abby was excited, but even more thrilled that Prancer got adopted to her forever home! Abby was very protective over Prancer and really paid attention to who was bidding on her. She was pleased with the winner and believes Prancer will be very happy.
Abby with friend and mentor, Leslie Kirkland
As for me, I'm proud of Abby on so many counts. I'm proud of her for recognizing the talent in the other trainers, for seeing their skill and pre-determining her support and happiness for them. I'm proud of her for setting a goal and never once compromising her convictions to reach it. I'm proud of her for not listening to the voices that said she wouldn't be able to get far with horses in a skirt. :) I'm thankful that that did not deter her many years ago!

Congratulations, Abby! And thank you, Lord, for the healing therapy You've given us in Your beautiful creation. May we always remember that even when things don't go according to our plan, You are still at work in our hearts and lives.

(I am hoping someone got video, but I haven't found any yet.  If I do, I'll post some later.)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Good, Good Father

It's Thursday again.  I actually slept last night.  Not the entire night, but enough that I didn't get out of bed.  That's something.  Maybe it's because I'm sick.  Maybe it's because yesterday was such an emotional day.  I don't know, but I am glad for it.  My body was screaming for rest.
Yesterday was an odd day.  Seven months without my sweet guy.  We spent it in Norman, watching them put the patina on the memorial, an interesting process.  I am happy with the memorial.  It doesn't look like William, exactly.  More like an older version.  But I'm happy with it.  It is an excellent reminder of his joy in what he is doing now.  I've been fairly hush, hush about it, but I'm really ready to show it.  I'll wait though.  It is done and ready to come home, but the base needs another 20 days or so.  I'll post pictures/video of the process after we do the installation.  We are planning to install Friday, June 17.
Yesterday I read a group discussion over angels vs. saints.  I don't know why so many feel that children become angels when they die.  The discussion was very good, though.  No theological put downs.  No emotional anger.  Just pure, honest discussion.  And through it all, a great peace came over me as I remembered...William was created to be a saint.  Higher than the angels.  He is the bride of Christ.  He always wanted to be married.  :)
William's race is finished.  His place in my heart is not.  But I am coming to peace with it.  I can no longer feel his sweet, warm touch, but I can feel the grief left behind.  And it's becoming a strange sort of friend.

Lyrics:
Oh, I've heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You're like
But I've heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that You're pleased
And that I'm never alone

You're a good good Father
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

Oh, and I've seen many searching
For answers far and wide
But I know we're all searching
For answers only You provide
‘Cause You know just what we need
Before we say a word

You're a good good Father
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

Cause You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

You are perfect in all of Your ways
Oh, You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

Oh, it's love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

You're a good good Father
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

You're a good good Father
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am
You're a good good Father

You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rambling

It's getting harder to write blog posts.  I feel the need to be somewhat upbeat and not let my friends think that I am sinking into the pit of despair so I try to be very careful about what I write while at the same time staying real.  What good does it do anyone to write what isn't true?

I find that the normal disappointments of everyday life are harder to bear when grief is so heavily looming.  I'm sorry to say it, but at one time a friend walking out of my life would not have been but a blink on my radar.  Now, it's like a bomb.  Another explosion in my heart.

I think the lack of sleep is starting to wear on me.  It must be getting better, though, because I think I'm up to a solid 4 hours at a time...sometimes.  Roughly once every week or two I skip a night altogether.  I'm starting to feel ancient.

Of course I've known other people who have suffered the loss of a child's death.  I've watched and marveled at how they were able to cope.  I've even gone so far as to be "impressed" with how they leaned on the Lord through such trials.  In my silliness and pride, I've even had the audacity to think to myself that I was strong enough in my faith and loved the Lord enough and trusted Him enough to walk through any trial He gave me.  Ha.   This test has taught me that I am not strong.  Far from it.  I am the weakest of the weak.  It has taught me that I have no faith except what He gives me.  And I do not love and trust Him purely and unreservedly.  I question His love, His goodness, His motives, His promises.

And yet, somehow, through all of my doubt, my anger, my distrust...He carries me.  His love washes over me.  He pulls me from the brink and does not let me be overtaken.  He patiently waits as I learn to trust Him more fully.  Oddly enough, my time with Him suddenly seems sweeter, richer, more full.  Maybe it's because I need Him more desperately than ever before...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

When the Darkness Will Not Lift


Grief is so unpredictable.  At times I think I've hit the peak, the absolute worst, but it is the unexpected waves, the aftershocks, that truly threaten to knock me down.    Moving forward is hard.  I miss him so much.  What I wouldn't give to hear his little laugh again...


Lyrics:
When the darkness will not lift
And my hopes are set adrift
Over the horizon of this sea
Waves of trouble crashing over me

When the fear of what lurks below
Tempts me to believe I'm all alone
Being tossed to and fro
Abandoned and far from home

But I belong to You
And none can stay Your hand
You rule the raging seas
They do what You command

When the darkness presses down
And the anchor seems to drown
Sinking to the bottom of the sea
With the other end tied to me

But I belong to You
And none can stay Your hand
You give and take away
According to Your plan

Oh I belong to You

Oh I belong to You
And none can stay Your hand
You rule the raging seas
They do what You command

Oh I belong to You

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Memories

One year ago we were just finishing up a wonderful, enjoyable day at Discovery Cove. It was such a joyful time, which I shall always be thankful for. I'm so very grateful that our family was given the gift of such wonderful memories before William was taken home to Glory. Miss him every moment of every day.

Mother's Day

I'm not a big fan of holidays.  Even Mother's Day.  It's not that I have anything against mothers (I am one, after all), or honoring them, or loving them.  I guess it's the idea of some card company conjuring up another money making scheme that gets me.  I would much rather my children show their honor to me in their daily living.  I would much rather them bring me wildflowers from the field.  I would much rather a gift out of the blue, handmade or purchased, just because they were thinking of their Momma.  I would much rather them plan a special meal or make my favorite dessert just to surprise me on a random day than to feel pressured by some marketing ploy.  And I especially dislike holidays that fall on Sunday.  I won't go into all that.  :)
That said, this year is different.  It's not that I want to celebrate it now.  Quite the opposite.  I wish it would go away altogether.

I know I am still a mother and I am even more grateful than I have ever been, if that is possible.  But I am also keenly aware of what I am missing, of who is missing.
I often used to joke about calling out to my children when they were playing..."William, Wallace, Calvin, Knox..." Great men, great reformers, great fighters.  It was fun to hear their names called out together.  Especially William and Wallace. :)  There is no joy in it now.  In fact, I cannot seem to muster the ability to do it.  This morning (yesterday morning?) we played at the park and I simply called out, "Children..." when it was time to gather them.
I digress.  In the past the holiday has simply been another day, now it is painful.  And of course guilt comes with that pain because, after all, I am still a mother and I have so many blessings before me, so why should it cause so much sorrow?  I do not know but this year I chose to do something different.  I got gifts for each of the children. They were surprised and it was fun! I chose to take the day (Saturday) and pause from the busy-ness that is life and just reflect on how grateful I am to be the mother to these many wonderful blessings, to remember the joy when I was surrounded by all of them, and to be exceedingly thankful for the ones that surround me still.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

If You Fall

Some of my hardest times are the routines.  I can hardly sing to the children at night.  Sometimes it overwhelms me.  I can't help but notice the glaring empty spot.  My heart screams that things are not right.  Time has not eased the pain.  It is still just as suffocating, maybe even more so.  Because with each passing day I am forced to face the reality that he truly is gone and my heart breaks even more.  I did not think that possible.  The thought of carrying this brokenness, this aching, for the rest of my life is almost more than I can bear.  I feel like I am half living.  Half of my heart in life, half in death. I am trying to move forward, but even that is more painful than I can muster sometimes.  And I feel so guilty.  Guilty, because I know how very blessed I am.  I am truly grateful for the children and the husband I have.  Yet it doesn't stop the torturous longing.  The missing.  The feeling that all is not right with the world and it simply cannot be this side of heaven.  I miss my life when all was right.  I would love to have that contentment again.

Lyrics:
You are a house that’s broken down
You are a house that’s burning
And everything in me wants to run
But that’s not love

If you fall, I fall with you
If you hurt I feel it too
Even if my heart turns black and blue
I will love you

I planted seeds down in the ground
Not every one is growing
When I am tempted to give up
I choose love

If you fall, I fall with you
If you hurt I feel it too
Even if my heart turns black and blue
I will love you

Beauty and light will fight for you
Goodness will rise
It shines for you

If you fall, I fall with you
If you hurt I feel it too
Even if my heart turns black and blue
If you fall, I fall with you
If you hurt I feel it too
Even if my heart turns black and blue
I will love you
I will love you

Monday, May 2, 2016

Yep!

I found this treasure today... William was known for his sweet little, "Yep!"  Boy, do I miss that precious voice!
video